Despite Wildfire & Pandemic Challenges McKenzie School District Welcomes Some Students Back
The McKenzie School District welcomed Grades 1, 2 and 3 back to the classroom, this week. The district and its students have been challenged by both the pandemic and the Holiday Farm Fire.
Students in Grades 1-3 will attend school four days a week from Monday through Friday. The schools plans on allowing Kindergarten and Grades 4, 5 and 6 to return on March 29.
Superintendent Lane Tomkins said in-person instruction is a hopeful step in allowing the community to move forward. Preparing to reopen meant not only adjusting to COVID-19 guidelines, but also continuing recovery efforts from the fire. Thompkins said they only recently got telecommunications working again.
“That’s a big one, I think a lot of people take for granted being able to place a phone call or look something up on the internet," he said. "We had quite a few trees get burned and ODOT was really great to prioritize us and get campus cleared of about 800 hazard trees.”
Tompkins said he’s not sure how many students from Grades 1, 2 and 3 have returned yet, but he’s pleased with attendance so far. He adds about a third of staff, and a quarter of all students lost homes in the Holiday Farm fire last September.
To help the school and its students, the nonprofit The Hope Project and several businesses including Kendall Auto, The Eugene Emeralds, and Heritage Distilling Company, donated school supplies, hand santizer, and PPE.
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